Over the next month, lawyers and judges interested in serving on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia can apply for a judicial vacancy that's expected to open up this summer.
U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) announced today that her Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission, which recommends candidates to the White House for the local federal courts, U.S. attorney and other positions, is accepting applications to fill U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth's seat. Lamberth has said he plans to retire in July and take senior status.
The commission is accepting applications through April 12. The 17-member commission, which is appointed by Norton, will vet applicants and then Norton will decide who to recommend to the president. The commission is led by chair Pauline Schneider, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Lamberth was first appointed to the court in 1987, after a long career in the local U.S. attorney's office. He became chief judge in 2008. Federal law requires that he step aside as chief judge when he turns 70 in July.
Although U.S. senators typically recommend applicants for the White House to consider, the District of Columbia's lack of representation doesn't allow for that. Instead, President Barack Obama has said that he would extend the same senatorial courtesy to Norton. President Bill Clinton was the first president to make that offer; President George W. Bush declined to do so, although Norton could make informal recommendations.
According to Norton's announcement, the commission is looking for "integrity, professional skills and experience, impartiality, industry, good health, high respect in the legal and local community, respect for the Bill of Rights and for the rights of all litigants, entities and parties, judicial temperament, ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, demonstrated commitment to equal justice, and decisiveness." Diversity is also an important factor, according to her announcement.